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Valmiki is supposedly the legendary author of the epic Ramayana that he claimed to have visualized in the Vedas; in fact, the Ramayana bears signs of different layers of composition, but Valmiki may have been a kusilava (bard) who introduced the sloka, the epic meter of two lines, each of two parts with eight syllables in each, which is used for the most part in the Mahabharata. Another epic work is also accredited to Valmiki, the Yoga-Vaisistha, but there is no historical evidence for this accreditation.

(Also see Balmiki) A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 1014

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